NYU’s Controversial Expansion Plan Gets Final Court Approval

New York State’s highest court has rejected a challenge to New York University’s planned expansion into Greenwich Village, clearing the way for the controversial project to go forward.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that just because “a portion of the public may have believed that these parcels are permanent parkland does not warrant a contrary result.” Critics of the project, which will add roughly two million square feet to the college campus, have called it a misuse of public land. The New York City Council approved the project in 2012.

A college spokesman, John Beckman, told the newspaper, “We look forward to moving ahead with the project, which is vital to meeting NYU’s pressing academic-space needs.”

New York University to grow in Greenwich Village by 2 million square feet New York’s highest court on Tuesday ruled in favor of New York University’s expansion plan, a decision that paves the way for the school to grow in Greenwich Village by some 2 million square feet.

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Students in Washington State Will See Their Tuition Drop

Students at public colleges in Washington State will get a rare tuition decrease over the next two years — and a relatively sizable one. The Seattle Times reports that the two-year budget passed by the state’s Legislature on Monday will cut tuition at the University of Washington and Washington State University by 15 percent over two years; at Western, Central, and Eastern Washington Universities by 20 percent; and at community and technical colleges by 5 percent. Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, is expected to sign the budget on Tuesday.

OLYMPIA – The state budget agreement reached by lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee over the weekend would cut college tuition at state schools and add new revenue, mostly by closing a handful of tax exemptions and preferential tax rates.

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Supreme Court to Consider Case That Could Upend Unions at Public Colleges

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to take a case that could upend how unions are financed at public colleges. The New York Times reports that the court will hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was brought by public-school teachers in California who argue that being forced to pay union fees violates their First Amendment rights.

Public employees in states without right-to-work laws can be required to pay fees to unions that represent them but that they m…


How One College Responded to Hillary Clinton’s High Speaking Fee: It Invited Her Daughter Instead

The University of Missouri at Kansas City was counting on the apple not falling far from the tree. And not costing $275,000.

The Washington Post reports that the college’s first choice to headline a gala celebrating a new women’s hall of fame was Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate and former U.S. secretary of state. But when word of her fee — $275,000 — reached the college, it decided to go with a less-expensive option: Mrs. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

Chelsea Clinton charged t…


Jury Rejects Claim of Liberal Bias in Hiring at U. of Iowa Law School

A federal jury ruled on Monday that a former dean of the University of Iowa law school did not illegally discriminate against a conservative lawyer on the basis of her political beliefs when she declined to hire the woman for a teaching job, the Associated Press reports.

The long-running case stems from hiring decisions made in 2007, when the lawyer, Teresa Manning, then known as Teresa R. Wagner, was working as associate director of the law school’s writing center. Ms. Manning was one of three …


Graduate Applications From Abroad Climb, but Slowly

Report: “2015 CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey: Preliminary Applications”

Author: Jeff Allum, director of research and policy analysis

Organization: Council of Graduate Schools

Summary: Applications to American graduate schools are up once again, but the latest statistics may leave universities uneasy. The 2-percent increase in preliminary applicants is considerably lower than last year’s 10-percent jump — in fact, in the decade the council has been collecting the data in only one …


Nevada College Leaders Sought to Dismiss Report That Criticized Them

Leaders of Nevada’s higher-education system tried to hide the findings of a report they commissioned because it criticized their management, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

The report, prepared by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, was meant to suggest possible improvements in the state’s community colleges. But emails obtained by the newspaper showed that leaders of the Nevada System of Higher Education were concerned by the “very negative light” in which the system’s Board of Regents was portrayed.

“I say we just take what we like out of the report and do away with the rest,” one official wrote to her colleagues. The leaders then requested that the center rewrite the report.

“I wanted a report that was reflective of what I thought were the facts,” Daniel Klaich, the system’s chancellor, told the newspaper.

When state lawmakers wanted ideas about how to improve the state’s community colleges last year, the Nevada System of Higher Education hired a Colorado-based think tank to scrutinize the four schools. But when the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems produced a report highly critical of the state’s higher education leadership, the study was quashed.

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Supreme Court Will Again Hear ‘Fisher’ Case on Race-Conscious Admissions

[Last updated (6/29/2015, 1:04 p.m.) with statements by Ms. Fisher and the university.]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday again agreed to hear a legal challenge to the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin, setting the stage for new arguments in a closely watched case that the justices decided once before, in 2013.

The plaintiff in the case, Abigail N. Fisher, had accused the Austin campus of discriminating against her after being denied admission in 2008. She subs…


Laid-Off Professor Is Reinstated at Northwest Nazarene U., but With Limits

Thomas Jay Oord, a theology professor who was laid off this spring in a controversial move by Northwest Nazarene University’s president, will be reinstated, but only to a part-time position that lasts for no more than three years, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Christian institution’s Board of Trustees.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reported that the board endorsed the actions taken by the university’s president at the time, David Alexander, to repair its finances. His announcement of layoffs and budgetary retrenchment in March drew fire because, critics said, Mr. Oord, a well-liked professor, had been singled out over theological differences with the university.

Mr. Alexander denied that was so, apologized to Mr. Oord for how the announcement had been handled, and put the planned layoffs on hold amid a faculty outcry. But Mr. Alexander was subjected to a no-confidence vote and subsequently resigned.

In Friday’s statement and an accompanying announcement, the board said it had reached an agreement with Mr. Oord under which he would teach part time in the university’s online theology program, for a maximum of three years, and would be paid in full for the 2015-16 academic year because the settlement occurred after the end of the 2014-15 year.

In a statement and video posted on his own website, Mr. Oord said he expected the board to conclude that he had been “wrongly selected for a layoff,” and was “shocked” at not winning full reinstatement. Still, he said, he accepted the agreement and hoped eventually to land a teaching ministry at another university. “My colleagues at NNU and the leadership must work now to shore up the university’s commitment to academic freedom,” he wrote.

“In these difficult months (and even years), my family and I have been sustained by the encouragement and words of affirmation,” he wrote. “I am especially grateful to literally hundreds of former students and colleagues who sent notes explaining how my life has made a positive difference. Some have even talked about how my teachings and influence have helped them regain belief in God, return to the church or overcome debilitating dilemmas.”

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Washington U. in St. Louis Hails Turnaround in Student Diversity

Washington University in St. Louis, which has drawn sharp criticism for years for its lack of student diversity, announced on Friday a jump in diversity in the freshman class enrolling this fall, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The university said the proportion of the class who are black will rise to 9 percent from 5 percent; Hispanic to 8 percent from 6 percent; and low income to 11 percent from 8 percent.

Critics said the university had climbed in the college rankings by using merit scholarships to enroll well-prepared students who were well-off and not from underrepresented groups. After The New York Times highlighted the pattern, in January, the university vowed to increase its socioeconomic diversity.

Holden Thorp, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, told the Post-Dispatch that the university had not been forced to lower its standard to raise its diversity.

“What we found is that there doesn’t have to be a trade-off,” Thorp said. “We looked at the students who didn’t get in last year, and we realized that we could broaden our criteria a little bit.” This very slight relaxing of admissions standards, Thorp said, had a negligible effect on the quality of students enrolled.

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